Soccer Spartans beat Massena in regional final

ESM to make first-ever trip to Class A final four

— For the first time, the East Syracuse-Minoa boys soccer team is making a trip to the state final four.

The Spartans scored once in each half to defeat Section X champion Massena, 2-0, Saturday in the Class A regional final at Christian Brothers Academy's Alibrandi Stadium.

In the bigger picture, the game served as a state quarterfinal contest. The Spartans (14-5-2) will face Jericho, a Section VIII team from Long Island, in next Saturday's state semifinal at Middletown High School at 4:15. The winner gets Maine-Endwell (Section IV) or Brighton (Section V) in Sunday’s final at 3 p.m.

ESM head coach Mark Carr, whose team beat Fulton on this same CBA turf in the Section III final a week ago, was of two minds immediately after the win over Massena.

“We’ll take the win, but that was probably the worst we’ve played in a couple weeks,” Carr said. “We were sloppy.”

Sloppy is the best way to describe the Spartans' first goal, though it was the Red Raiders defense that owned the messiness.

After a half of few chances, ESM got on the board in the 29th minute. A long, high ball was kicked right down the middle toward the Massena goal. Two Red Raiders defenders failed to clear it on the first bounce, and the third headed the ball meekly back toward his goal.

That was all Spartans striker Nick Capriotti needed to see. The senior jumped on the loose ball, took one touch a simply guided the ball past surging Massena goalie Alan Davis.

“That was a frustrating goal,” Red Raiders coach Betty Robert said. “The first goal is always key and we had three people around the ball.”

The second half was much the same as the first, mostly midfield play with few chances. The Spartans had only one good chance, and they made the most of it.

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